It’s that time of year again!
Black Friday is only a few weeks away, and I’m excited!
Black Friday is one of the biggest, if not the biggest sales days of the year for small businesses. You may be tempted, much like myself, to skip out on participating in the madness. But, trust me, you DO NOT want to skip out on Black Friday.
And, although, many of us will be busy stuffing turkeys and getting ready for Christmas with our families, you can fit this into your busy schedule also if you plan accordingly.
…it can be a GAME-CHANGER for hitting your revenue goals this year.
Because believe it or not, we are less than 100 days until Christmas (!!!!) and just a few days more until the end of 2019.
You’re running out of time to crush those numbers, my friend.
So let’s bump up the momentum as we head into the holiday season. But, before we do, I think I should remind you that it is going to require work to reach those financial goals this holiday season.
It’s definitely NOT as straightforward as discounting your items in your shop and then twiddling your fingers waiting for the sales to come in, or “hope” marketing. Basically, just hoping for the sales to roll in on their own.
So let’s talk about generating that killer buzz around your shop for Black Friday!
Nailing your offer
So here’s a truth-bomb that you *might* not want to hear: Your DISCOUNT isn’t the biggest factor of your sale.
What does that actually mean?
It means that even if you have an amazingly drool-worthy “90% off the entire shop!” promo going on that you are 110% certain that NO one will be able to pass up, your sale still has the possibility of bombing.
Yep— your discount is ONE part of the equation— but it’s not the ENTIRE equation.
So while your discount offer is still an important factor, there’s a piece to the puzzle that you’re totally missing.
It’s your pre-promotion :)
AKA building hype about your sale!
Because believe it or not, if nobody KNOWS about your sale, they’re never going to shop from it. People can’t buy from you if they don’t know you (or your sale!) even exist!
Now you may be riding the wave of “Oh, they’ll find me with SEO and stuff.” but that’s a HORRIBLE strategy.
Are you seriously going to bank on your website to favor you with SEO on the biggest shopping day of the year?
If I can offer you any piece of advice, it’s this: you should NEVER rely on the unreliability of SEO to make you sales. Ever.
Especially on such a HUGE shopping day.
Instead I want you to feel equipped and be responsible for getting the word out about your awesome offer.
So, the question still remains, what should my offer be?
Let me start by saying, FREE SHIPPING IS NOT IT! Ultimately, that’s up to you and what your profit margins can handle, but ask yourself the following question:
“What sales do *I* get excited about on Black Friday?”
Think about it though-- if you’ve ever been one of those people that is all over Black Friday shopping, there’s a method to your madness. You don’t start your day visiting any old random shop. You’ve got a STRATEGY in place. You know EXACTLY what shop’s your going to hit and what deals you’re going to shop. And those first ones on your list? They’re the ones with enticing offers :)
Were any of them offering the generic 10% discount?
Yeah, I didn’t think so ;)
Enticing doesn’t always mean deepest discount. I’m not going to ask you to price your items at 90% off and take a hit for every purchase (please, please don’t do that!). But I AM going to ask you to nail down your “wow” factor to get your audience actually EXCITED about shopping with YOU this Black Friday. We are going to create an offer that is in the same league as what your competitors are offering so that you don’t disqualify yourself from the race before it even begins.
To do this, do some research on your competition and turn back to Black Friday 2018 (or even 2017 if you’re feeling a bit nostalgic). This might mean spying a few (hundred) posts back on Instagram, looking through old blog posts, or simply googling “2018 Black Friday sales.” (although I’d recommend narrowing that search down a bit so you’re looking more industry-specific ;)
Take note of:
What offers were getting people talking (look for comments, likes, etc.)?What offers didn’t seem to gain a lot of traction (look for lack of engagement)?What offers caught YOUR eye (what sales got YOU excited)?
Now use those as a springboard for your OWN Black Friday promo this year.
Stuck with where to get started? Here are some ideas of promos to get the wheels turning:
Offer a tiered promotion discount. 20% off $50, 35% off $75, etc.Offer a deep-discount flash sale with 50- 75% off of any ONE item in your shop (note- you’ll want to make sure you cross-sell/upsell additional items in your orders so you still make a tidy profit)Offer a different discount every day through the Black Friday weekend. Offer a chance to win a free order from those who purchase on a specific date.
That list is by NO means exhaustive, but it’s a sampling of promos that I’ve acted on, haha (and if I’m your target market, you now have everything you need to create a ridiculously profitable promo)!
So I’ve nailed down my offer. I’m good to go, right?!
Because here’s the deal: once you’ve got your order down, your work isn’t done just yet.
Because-- like we discussed earlier-- your offer can be KILLER, but if no one knows about it, fat lot of good it’s going to do you.
You need to be building HYPE around your sale.
Meaning that long before Black Friday happens (2-4 weeks), you need to have a plan in place about how you’re going to get your audience aware of the “don’t miss this!” promo going down in your shop that sales-filled weekend.
At this point, you may be feeling overwhelmed by everything you COULD be doing to build hype. There’s a TON of ideas out there—and not all of them are good.
So let’s take a look at 3 hype-building strategies I’ve personally used that have taken my Black Friday sales from “ok” to “mind blowing!”
Hype-building idea #1: Create a product gift guide
Have you ever been shopping for a gift online and been completely CLUELESS what to get?
It happens to me basically ALL THE TIME and my go-to method for moving past that stuck page is to either head on over to Uncommon Goods and/or Pinterest and enjoy (aka waste) DAYS falling down the rabbit hole of all the crazy-unique items; orSearch “gifts for [cat/dog/travel/etc] lovers”. This hype-building idea caters to me.
Wondering what a gift guide actually is? Let’s take a look!
What it is: This is an image-heavy post (hosted on your website) filled with products from multiple shops around the web that all fall under a certain “theme”. Think of it as a Pinterest board designed to inspire your audience to think of items they normally wouldn’t have considered.
Why is works: This is an incredibly vial-potential piece of content that is quickly and easily shared by those who view it (i.e Pinterest). There is also the added bonus of the shops that you feature promoting the gift guide as well so be strategic.
When should you create this? Pan on publishing this at least 3 weeks in advance of your Black Friday sale. Even earlier is better.
Keys to making it work:
Create a gift guide centered around on-trend items/keywords. Google Trends is a great place to research this if you’re stuck!
Only share products that are complementary to yours-- never the direct competition!
Make sure you follow up with each shop you featured to let them know that a) you included their product, and b) you’d love if they could share it with their audience, too.
Make sure you include at least 2-3 items of your own in the product round upInclude a Pinterest-friendly graphic within your post. If you are not design savvy, find you someone who is (or click here)
Include a CTA (call to action) at the end announcing your upcoming Black Friday sale + a personal invitation (via a hyperlink and/or image [see below]) to join your email list. THIS IS NON-NEGOTIABLE. You need to make sure you have a way to continue to market to them during the holiday season so you can tell them when your sale goes live.
Hype-building idea #2: Create a VIP waiting list and promote, promote, promote!
People like to feel special! So let’s build up some good vibes with your audience - because that’s what your VIP waitlist is all about.
This is the perfect strategy to use as a follow up method. Remember, you will add your call to action along with the image that will lead people to your page and add them to this list! This is why your call to action and website must be ready for the traffic thats going to come! What it is: A VIP list is simply a tagged list of email subscriber who have expressed interest in your Black Friday sale. You’ve created a form or landing page through your email service provider or website and are encouraging people to leave their name so you can keep them updated on your sales, new products, etc.
Why it works to build hype: the purpose of this is to have a place that people can go in the mean time. So, before your sale is even live, they can go “take action” by signing up to your VIP list so that they can be notified when the sale is live!
When should you create this? At least a month in advance. So, in other words, get to it! You should start heavily promoting the closer it gets to Black Friday aka NOW!
Keys to making this work: Create a landing page specially for this purpose - no distractions or navigation leading them away. You will be promoting this URL specially and not your website where they can get distracted on other things.
Be sure to include on this page:
Logo along the top of the page
Name of your promotion
Promotion details + VIP bonus (why should they sign up?)
Button or form to leave their name and emailGleam to increase social sharing potential - your followers will et more entries the more they share.Keep your giveaway timeline short (no more than 5 days) to keep the momentum going and increase urgency. Bonus: Consider extending an exclusive discount code to those who entered but did not win to increase sales. This can be the same as your general Black Friday sale, but use language that thanks them for entered and offers them this “consolation prize”.
Make sure there is an incentive to join your VIP list. The worst thing that you can do is to tell someone to join just because! Don’t just say, “Join for exclusive Black Friday Deals!” because that tells them NOTHING! Instead, maybe, give them an extra discount, upgraded shipping, a free item with purchase — whatever it is, make sure it makes sense and its something that your target market would actually like.
And be sure not to go M.I.A before the sale - you want to send at least 1-2 emails prior to your sale going live to your VIP list - get them excited and keep your brand at the front of their minds.
Hype-building idea #3: Host a contest or Giveaway
Arguably the easiest way to build hype around your brand prior to hosting a sale, a contest or give away is one of the quickest and most straightforward ways to get people talking about your brand prior to Black Friday.
What it is: A promotion where you give away free product/ gift card in exchange for email addresses entries and social sharing of your brand.
Why it works to build hype: People love free stuff - it really is that easy!
When should you create this? Plan on hosting your giveaway 1-2 weeks prior to your Black Friday sale; there shouldn’t be any overlap with your actual sale and the contest.
Keys to making this work:
Do not just say “follow me on Instagram!” for entry - make sure you get their email address so you can follow up with them.
Partner up with additional shops for increased exposure + viral potential. A prize bundle valued at $500 is going to generate a lot more buzz that just a $25 product.
Make sure you email the entrants!
Use a viral-sharing platforms like Rafflecopter to increase social sharing potential - your followers will earn more entries the more they share.
Keep your giveaway timeline short (no more than 5 days) to keep the momentum going and increase urgency.
Consider extending an exclusive discount code to those who entered but did not win to increase sales. This can be the same as your general Black Friday sale, but use language that thanks them for entered and offers them this “consolation prize”.
These are three tried-and-true strategies for building hype around your Black Friday sales and your brand in general!
Remember for a small business owner, Black Friday doesn’t start the day after Thanksgiving - it’s the prep work beforehand (the hype-building) that can make or break the actual sale itself. Your audience has to actually know about your sale before they can even shop it!